The Washington Post
December 5, 2018

By: Jacqueline Alemany

On The Hill
THE HOUSE GOP’S ONE WOMAN CHANGE AGENT: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is tackling the GOP’s woman problem head on — and isn’t asking for permission to do so.

It’s a refrain she tweeted on Tuesday after the new chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), told Roll Call he thought it was “a mistake” for Stefanik to “play big in primaries” through her leadership PAC by elevating and supporting women and “nontraditional” candidates.

The leader of recruitment during the 2018 cycle at the NRCC, Stefanik responded during an interview with Power Up on Tuesday afternoon: “When I ran for Congress, I didn’t ask for permission,” Stefanik told us. “The NRCC tried to recruit people against me when I ran in that primary . . . I think I’ve earned the support and encouragement from a lot of my colleagues. But I’m not going to start asking for permission now.”

Stefanik thinks Republicans haven’t spent enough time thinking about why they lost nearly 40 House seats in 2018 — and only elected one female freshman compared to 35 new Democratic women. She wants the NRCC to conduct a formal autopsy of the midterms and to fix what she calls the party’s “suburban women problem.”

Stefanik believes elevating female voices shines a light on policy issues disproportionately impacting women. Stefanik encouraged the House GOP to study the approach of female lawmakers like Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), “an incredible voice on issues like maternal health,” or Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), “an incredible voice on children with special needs.”

Rep. Ann Wagner (R- Missouri), who Stefanik supported for a bid for NRCC chair before she dropped out, represents a very suburban district and “has been a leader on human trafficking,” she told us. “These voices need to be elevated between now and 2020. And they need to be looked to as role models as how to win in tough districts in this environment.”